Spring Transitions

Mar 29, 2019

Contributed by Linda Muri, Rocket Science Rowing:

With this year’s last 2k of the indoor season in the proverbial rearview, I am ready to shift gears. Post race season is a time to refocus and refresh, to evaluate last year’s goals and set new ones for the coming year. It is a natural time to examine things like technique and training plans--what worked, what did not, and how you can make changes. For a range of what works during this transition, I checked in with a few indoor stalwarts who medaled at the 2019 World Rowing Indoor Championships in Long Beach, California, USA.

“Decompression and renewal,” is what Chris Ives shared. Following racing season, Chris likes to take a month for himself and the athletes he coaches to continue on the erg where they do “very low ratings at very low power with a focus on form, technique, and a heavy dose of visualization before getting on the water." Like Chris, I find this is the perfect time to take a down-cycle in your training.

For all intents and purposes, post race season is a lot like New Year’s resolutions, but with a solid measurable aspect to it. Maybe you raced this winter or logged meters with or without the Online Challenges. Maybe you wish you had been able to log more. Questions I ask myself are: did I meet last year’s goals (meters, minutes, results, etc.) and what can I change for next year? My approach to goal setting and motivation is two-fold--good health and competition. As a breast cancer survivor, exercise is recommended to significantly reduce the chance of recurrence. In addition, I like to compete; so another factor for me is being ready for the group I race with in the fall. Chances are, one of those factors will keep me going on any given day.

The simple approach works best for Luanne Mills. Luanne is a multiple age group and current women's heavyweight age 80-84 world record holder. She finds motivation by relying on the Concept2 Challenges, which keep her returning to the erg throughout the year. She is not a big on-water rower--she only rows on the water once a year--but has confidence that the Challenges will have her ready for that as well as next year’s racing.

Keeping injury free is another great goal. In addition to eating well and getting enough rest/recovery, it usually means smart cross training--working different body parts in different ways. Having been off the water since mid-November and logging most of my workouts on the RowErg and BikeErg, this time of year finds me ready for a bit more varied cross training. In particular, I look forward to getting outdoors on Nordic skis. It is an important change in movement and scenery. For others, this can be when the BikeErg and SkiErg play an important role in varying your modes of training.

Louise and Dave Watts move from indoor racing to cycling outdoors in what they call the “transition stage.” Although they will compete on their road bikes the end of this month, their next goal is to compete at the US National Senior Games Championships in cycling events, as well as competing in time trials and road races. They always include time on the RowErg to mix it up because it is so effective in achieving their goals.

A less traditional cross-training approach comes from Morgan Soutter. He does not scull and cannot commit to consistent practice times with a crew on the water. Morgan says that windsurfing, when the weather turns warm, becomes an obsession for him. “It is great cross-training for rowing--same muscle groups, same need to transmit force from the legs to the core and back and arms,” and it allows him to handle the one or two “emergency practices” the week before the Head Of The Charles Regatta. Speaking of on the water training, current world record holder (Men's Heavyweight age 60-64), Tom Darling, had a simple answer, “post 2K erg I go right back on the water--weather permitting--where it is time to get into 'on water' as opposed to 'off water' workouts."

What this all boils down to is that no matter how you approach the change in season, there is no one way to make the transition. The only commonality is to take time to rejuvenate mentally and physically in ways that make you feel good about what comes next.

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